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Court Nullifies Otti’s Candidature, Other LP Candidates in Abia, Kano

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A Federal High Court sitting in Kano State and presided over by Justice Mohammed N Yunusa has nullified the candidature of the Abia State Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti.

Justice Yunusa, on Friday, also nullified the candidatures of all those who contested the 2023 general elections under the Labour Party (LP) in Abia and Kano states.

The court ruled that the emergence of the candidates was not in compliance with the provisions of the 2022 electoral act.

A copy of the judgement delivered by the court was made public on Friday morning.

The Court in Suit No FHC/KN/CS/107/2023 was filed by Mr Ibrahim Haruna Ibrahim against the LP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It ruled that the failure of the Labour Party to submit its membership register to the INEC within 30 days before their primaries renders the process null and void.

“The party that has not complied with the provisions of the electoral act cannot be said to have candidates in an election and cannot be declared winner of an election.

“This being so, the votes credited to the 1st defendant is a wasted vote,” the Judge ruled.

Recall that the Abia Governor-elect, Otti, on April 14 constituted a 75-member inauguration committee to organise his inauguration on May 29.

The LP candidate was declared the winner of the March 18 Abia gubernatorial election of by the INEC after winning 10 of the 17 local government areas (LGAs) in the state and polled 175,467 votes.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Okey Ahiwe, polled a total of 88,529 votes while Enyinnaya Nwafor of the Young Peoples Party (YPP) came in third with 28,972 votes.

INEC’s state returning officer, Professor Nnenna Oti, declared Otti as the governor-elect, having polled the highest number of votes and having fulfilled the requirements to be named the governor-elect.

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FG Drops Tax Charges Against Binance Executive

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service, on Friday, says it is dropping the tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial crime compliance.

Confirming the development, Dare Adekanmbi, the agency’s spokesperson, said the federal government “is dropping charges against the two individuals sued along with the cryptocurrency firm, Binance.

“Please note that the charges are being dropped against the second and the third defendants in the matter,” he added.

Speaking in a statement on Friday, Binance said the development illustrates that Gambaryan is not a decision-maker at the cryptocurrency firm.

“We are relieved that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has served and filed amended charges today, resulting in tax charges against Tigran Gambaryan being dropped,” the statement reads.

“Further illustrating that Tigran is not a decision-maker at Binance and does not need to be held in order for Binance to resolve issues with the Nigerian government.

“We await the court’s ruling on this, discharging Tigran from this matter completely.”

Binance also commended the FIRS for their diligence and professionalism throughout this process.

The company said the situation unequivocally demonstrates its commitment to resolving the issue with the government transparently and cooperatively.

Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa; were detained by the Nigerian authorities on February 28.

Although Anjarwalla escaped from the custody of the office of the national security adviser (ONSA), both executives, alongside Binance, were charged by the federal government for tax evasion and money laundering.

On March 25, FIRS filed a criminal charge against Binance for “tax evasion”.

According to the service, the move was to uphold fiscal responsibility and safeguard the economic integrity of the country.

The lawsuit, designated as suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, was said to “implicate Binance with a four-count tax evasion accusation”.

On May 17, the FIRS filed an amended four-count charge against Binance Holdings Limited and its executive, Gambaryan, on alleged tax evasion.

The matter drew the attention of lawmakers in the United States who accused the Nigerian government of taking Gambaryan, “hostage”.

TheCable

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HoS Suspends Perm Sec over Sexual Harassment Allegation, Orders Probe

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The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa, has been suspended by the Office of the Head of Service over sexual harassment allegation.

The Head of Service, Folashade Yemi-Esan, said the permanent secretary would be on suspension pending the outcome of a probe into the allegation against him.

“The permanent secretary has been suspended pending the outcome of the probe by the committee set up, “ a senior director in the OHCSF told our correspondent in Abuja.

It was learnt that following a petition submitted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, against Lamuwa, the HoS constituted a committee to look into the matter.

The complainant in the petition submitted by Tuggar was one Simisola Ajayi, who accused Lamuwa of serial sexual harassment.

Ajayi, in the petition filed by her lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), outlined alleged instances of harassment.

In a letter addressed to the Head of Service on May 27, 2024, Tuggar expressed his concern over the serious nature of the allegations involving the permanent secretary.

“I am compelled to write to inform you of a formal complaint against the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, on allegations of sexual harassment.

“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly,” the minister stated in the letter.

An official familiar with the case told our correspondent on Wednesday that following the receipt of Tuggar’s letter on the allegation against Lamuwa, the HoS had set up a probe panel.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, said, “Yes, the Head of Service has set up a committee to probe the whole matter. There are pieces of evidence, which will be tabled and witnesses who will also be invited to speak on the matter,  so it is not a matter that will be swept under the carpet.

“The minister (Tuggar) is also very much interested in the outcome. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a special ministry that operates even outside the shores of the country, so you can’t expect that an issue of such gravity will be swept under the carpet.”

Ajayi had, in a petition dated May 29, 2024 and addressed to Tuggar, accused the permanent secretary of serial sexual harassment.

The petition, signed by Adebayo A. Oniyelu LP of Falana & Falana’s, was titled “Request For An Investigation Of Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s Conducts Of Sexual Harassment At The Place Of Work, Abuse Of Office, Official Intimidation And Discrimination.”

According to the petition, Ajayi narrated multiple instances of harassment allegedly by Lamuwa, which had created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment.

She claimed for instance that during a policy retreat on October 7, 2023, Lamuwa allegedly made inappropriate advances towards her, suggesting she joined him in his hotel room.

He reportedly continued with inappropriate remarks throughout the retreat.

She also cited an incident on November 10, 2023, where Lamuwa allegedly invited Ajayi to travel to Hong Kong, promising significant personal benefits from the trip.

The Punch

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DSS Warns Against Protests to Undermine Public Safety, National Security

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The Department of Security Services (DSS) has issued an alert, warning the public about a planned physical protests across the country.

A statement signed by the Service’s Director, PR & Strategic Communications, Mr. Peter Afunanya, also noted that though citizens have a right to protest, it should not be to undermine public safety and national security.

Read the statement in full:

The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to plans by certain individuals and groups to stage physical protests in some parts of the country on 12th June, 2024. The protests are designed with sinister objectives to coincide with the Democracy Day Celebration. While citizens may have the rights of assembly and expression, such freedoms should not be used to undermine public safety and national security.

The determination by some non-state actors to incite mass disaffection through demonstrations that may turn violent will not be tolerated. However, it is instructive to note that violent demonstrations are at variance with the peaceful disposition of the Federal Government to amicably address all contentions including the minimum wage. Citizens are, therefore, called upon to resist any persuasions to be lawless or cause disorder and anarchy in the nation. Displeased persons are rather encouraged to appropriately channel their grievances through the right channels and procedures.

Consequently, the DSS reaffirms its unequivocal position to protect the country from inimical acts being orchestrated by disgruntled groups to cause a breakdown of law and order. It will also sustain collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to maintain the peace as well as protect lives and property across the nation. Law abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their businesses without fear.

The Service, while felicitating the government and citizens on this auspicious occasion of celebrating 25 years of unbroken democracy, calls for continued patriotism, unity and commitment in building a Nigeria of our collective dream. Meanwhile, the DSS website, dss.gov.ng; email address- dsspr@dss.gov.ng and Telephone lines +2349153391309;+2349088373514 remain open to the public in the event that there is need to contact it.

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